It was Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, who first put me squarely on the trail of Don Roberto with an invitation to speak about him at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival in 2016. Everything that has followed is his fault – and I’m deeply grateful to him for it. Donald published this powerful personal manifesto for independence on New Year’s Eve. I believe it deserves to be widely shared. Please do so.
“NE’ER Day is my UDI. By personal resolution I am leaving the British state, which has deprived me of my European citizenship and treats me as a subject. Instead, I am reasserting my European and worldwide identity as a citizen of the ancient, unbroken nation of Scotland. I cannot change the world alone, but I can start by changing myself.
I cannot any longer be part of Little England. I cannot be compliant with the jingoism of England’s governing class, who want everyone else to be poorer so that they can be sovereign. I dissent from their undemocratic and unaccountable governance, their serial incompetence, corruption, and nauseating presumption. I am determined to live by principles of equity, justice, dignity, respect and compassion.
I also renounce the House of Windsor, and all the detritus of monarchy. Whatever the merits of Queen Elizabeth, “royal prerogative” has become a cover for arbitrary rule. “God Save the Queen” no more, even out of politeness.
I renounce the British state’s obscene and soon-to-be-illegal possession of nuclear weaponry. I protest the stockpiling of warheads and decaying radioactive submarines near the homes of two-and-a-half million Scots on the Clyde. I refuse to be part of Britain’s global weapons workshop, supplying dictators and fuelling murderous, ethnic conflicts.
I call out Britain’s media establishment, including the BBC, which insistently demands to know why Scotland should be independent, without ever considering why not. I challenge the subservience of many in Scottish society, who cling to their status quo privilege and refuse to speak truth to power.
I resist Britain’s sell-out of public services for private profit, and its determination to undermine the United Kingdom’s parliaments. I support every possible collective and individual action to sustain planet Earth as a home for humankind, and the source of diverse life – air, soil and seas.
Some of this is unsurprising: my adult life has been in the midst of Scottish culture and society. I know how much and how often Scotland has undercut its own potential. But the next years will be harder than what has gone before. The British state will not relinquish its hold on Scotland without conflict and repression.
I am prepared to resist by all non-violent means, including civil disobedience. If necessary I would accept loss of liberty as the price for genuine freedom. I shall give unstinting voice to the diversity of Scotland though my storytelling art, without censorship, or deference to institutions that disguise bias as impartiality. I will not be cowed by weasel words – “divisive”, “separatist”, or “nationalist”. Scotland’s cause is inclusive and outward-facing.
I regret the present assault on Scotland’s democracy. Yet I am relieved that pretences have been dropped; that open resistance has arrived. There is joy in joining the dance of defiance. For me, independence is beginning, and I can go forward in the good company of people who delight in freedom and humanity.”
Donald Smith, 31 December, 2020.